Oakland Warehouse Fire claims Nine Lives

The Latest on a deadly fire in a converted warehouse in Oakland, California (all times local):
3:35 p.m.
The city of Oakland started investigating nearly three weeks ago whether people were illegally living in a warehouse destroyed by a fire late Friday night. At least nine people died.
Darin Ranelletti, of the City of Oakland Planning Department, says the city had received reports of people living illegally in the building, which was only permitted as a warehouse. They opened an investigation on Nov. 13. He says an investigator went to the premises on Nov. 17 but could not gain access to the inside of the building
Ranelletti says they had not yet confirmed people were living inside. Photos posted online of the warehouse – called the “Oakland Ghost Ship” – showed pictures of a bohemian, loft-like interior made of wood and cluttered with beds, rugs, old sofas, pianos, paintings, turntables, statues and other items.
Neighbors had complained of trash piling up outside the property and concerns the garbage posed a danger, according to the city’s Planning and Building Department website.
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12:50 p.m.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a statement of condolences after a deadly fire in Oakland, California, left at least nine people dead.
Brown says in a statement that he and his wife, Anne, were saddened to hear about the deadly blaze.
In the statement Saturday he said: “Our thoughts are with the entire city in this difficult time and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of those lost.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a separate statement calling the fire “an immense tragedy.”
Authorities say they fear up to 40 people might have died in the fire at a warehouse converted into artist studios that was hosting an electronic dance party.
Rescue crews were combing through wreckage and still trying to access parts of the warehouse mid-day Saturday.
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12:25 p.m.
Authorities say arson investigators and other fire experts will comb through the wreckage of a deadly fire in Oakland, California, but the burn site is not considered a crime scene.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly says Saturday that fire investigations must start out looking at worst-case scenarios.
The blaze broke out about 11:30 p.m. Friday, and officials have confirmed nine deaths. They fear up to 40 more could have died. Authorities are working to verify who was in the building when the blaze broke out.
Terry Ewing says his girlfriend was at the party and is missing. He went to a sheriff’s office building Saturday to await information. He says he didn’t know about the party and that he learned of the fire from friends who came to his house.
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11:50 a.m.
The sheriff’s office serving Oakland, California, says it appears people inside a converted warehouse that went up in flames either escaped unscathed or were trapped inside.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly says Saturday there are no reported injuries from a deadly fire that broke out during a rave in a gritty section of Oakland.
Authorities have confirmed nine people died in the blaze but fear up to 40 more could have perished. It broke out about 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says the warehouse had been partitioned into several artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins and other objects. The chief says the building didn’t have a clear exit path and that the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell.
The building was still smoldering at midday Saturday.
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10:45 a.m.
Authorities in the San Francisco Bay Area say they are prepared to deal with up to 40 deaths after a fire broke out at a warehouse party in Oakland, California.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly says Saturday that nine people are confirmed dead, and that he expects that number to rise.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says some people escaped and that between 50 and 100 people were at the warehouse at the time of the fire.
The warehouse had been partitioned into several artist studios and was packed with furniture, mannequins, lamps, and other objects. Deloche-Reed says the building didn’t have a clear exit path and that the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets.
Fire officials say the building was not equipped with sprinklers.
Kelly says firefighters are still extinguishing hotspots from the blaze that sparked around 11:30 p.m. Friday. The cause is unclear.
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9:55 a.m.
A San Francisco Bay Area fire chief says the converted warehouse where a fire killed at least nine people was extremely cluttered and would have been difficult to escape in an emergency.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says the building was packed with furniture, mannequins and statues and that it did not have a clear entry or exit path.
Deloche-Reed says the only way out of the second floor was a makeshift stairwell made of pallets. She says the roof collapsed and there is a lot of debris that will have to be painstakingly removed.
The building was partitioned into artist studios.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson says officials with the coroner’s office haven’t recovered any bodies from because the building is still deemed unsafe.
The cause of the fire is still unclear.
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9:05 a.m.
A San Francisco Bay Area fire chief now says up to 25 people are unaccounted for after a fire in Oakland, California, that killed at least nine people Friday night.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed tells reporters Saturday morning that the site of the fire is a former warehouse that was subdivided into artist studios. Deloche-Reed says the roof collapsed and that fire investigators will have to search through debris to find any remaining bodies.
Authorities are working to verify who was in the building when the blaze broke out around 11:30 p.m.
The chief says it’s unclear what started the fire, but that there did not appear to be sprinklers in the building.
Authorities told KTVU-TV about 50 people were in the building when the fire started. It happened during a party.
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7:35 a.m.
Fire officials say at least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning.
Deloche-Reed says the fire department still must do a thorough search of the building.
The fire started about 11:30 p.m. Friday. It tore through the building during an event featuring musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk West Coast tour, the East Bay Times reports.
Authorities told KTVU-TV about 50 people were in the building, which houses a group of artists and their studios.
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5:58 a.m.
San Francisco Bay Area authorities say a fire has broken out at an Oakland warehouse where people were having a party, and police say there are “casualties.”
Oakland police Officer G. Plasencia says the fire department responded about 11:30 p.m. Friday and that firefighters were still on the scene early Saturday morning. Oakland firefighters tweeted video of the fire erupting through the roof.
Authorities told KTVU-TV about 50 people were inside the building, which houses a group of artists and their studios.
Plasencia said he had no further description of the casualties and referred an Associated Press reporter to the coroner’s office. The office said the coroners were also at the scene Saturday morning and unavailable for comment. The fire department also had no immediate details.
 Story: Associated Press

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